Gonzo blogging from the Annie Leibovitz of the software development world.

Month: October 2003 (Page 1 of 2)

Off into the wild blue yonder…

Hi guys. Things have calmed down here at the blue houshold, but I’m off this Wednesday for vacation so I’ll be away from the posts for a week or so (I’m sure you guys don’t want to hear about the trouble I’m getting into on my vacation).

I probably won’t be picking up a copy of the latest expansion pack, Makin’ Magic, until after I get back but hopefully I can get the updates to the programs done in a week or so after that. Once I do it for one the others will fall into line. Once thats done at least we’ll have a full set of tools here that are current. They’re woefully out of date right now and I think only support up to Living Large (yes, pathetic I know). There will still be come incompatibilities (like with MenuEditor) but for the most part they’ll work. There are some other tools people have built to handle categories and such which will fill any gap my stuff has.

I haven’t officially heard anything about tools for Sims 2 but someone did mention that Maya (or hopefully the personal edition) would be used for body meshes for Sims 2. Hopefully that means people can create their own, but I’m not sure how much of a boost that will be to the community? I mean, custom body meshes are not really that big of a deal when it comes to showing off your work. How many variations can you come up on the same theme?

As for objects, it seems the Sims 2 world is 3D so it would make sense to either use Maya PE or gMAX for object creation and export. Again, I’m just as in the dark on this as you are. Don H. and I proposed a gMAX plugin for The Sims but nobody seemed to want to take it on (might have been the license fees but I don’t know). gMAX is pretty much the cats meow for object creation as it’s a trimmed down version of 3D Studio MAX. Bit of a learning curve, but there isn’t much it can’t do. I would hope they have some consumer solution for creating objects in Sims 2 and don’t expect people to go out and buy a $3,000 program. Well, one can dream can’t they?

Moving forward on expansion packs and The Sims 2

Thanks for the constructive remarks now that the site is back online and I’m in a somewhat regular mode again. Trust me, when you’re out of the game for a few months it takes twice that long to get back into it. Those that go on vacation know what I mean. Anyways, the brain cells are recharged and even though I’m still constrained by time and effort, at least the brunt of the silly work is done. When your main focus is trying to program and solve challenges the last thing your brain wants to do is write HTML tags. The body just refuses to keep interest in it. Anyways.

First off as I mentioned before the first refresh of the tools is to get everything updated to the latest EP. Much to my disconnection to the Sims releases now, I guess Making Magic is still not available on store shelves so I’ll have to wait until that surfaces up here in Canada. With being away for the next couple of weeks on vacation down in New York, it’ll be the 2nd week in November before I can load it up and even look at it.

The second pass is to apply what I hope is valued learnings and split up the software into the modular components it should be. This will result in two things. First a common set of components that all programs will use so if there are any more expansion packs, an update will be just to the common module and the existing apps don’t have to be updated. When there’s a dozen or so to update it’s really a hinderance to have to try to sweep through and apply minor changes and build releases for each one. Secondly it will provide what I’ve always wanted to do and that’s put the power of programming in your hands. Hopefully it will work out as planned and we’ll see new stuff from anyone else who has some creative juices left in them. How long will The Sims live? Who knows. It’s long past it’s due date and doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down.

As for The Sims 2 support, tools and anything else that’s going on I have a few sources out there that are keeping an ear open. I believe (or at least hope) that Maxis has a slightly different attitude with Sims 2 with regards to providing users with good tools, or empowering people to build things without having to be rocket scientists. I don’t know because I haven’t had any discussions with Maxis for some time now and not sure if I will. However, being the glutton that I am for punishment, I’m willing to listen and play by whatever rules there might be and provide whatever service I can to the community in the form of tools. It’s all about putting something in the hands of the end user that I personally would want to have. The Sims is a rich environment and Sims 2 looks like it has even more farther reaching possibilities. We really haven’t scratched the surface with The Sims yet as there’s lots of rocks to turn over.

Strawdog site done and online

Okay, so since my last post (about an hour ago) I decided to stay up and complete the upload to the site. You can now download everything listed under the SimsTools A-Z section. The Coming Soon section is for tools that are either not online or not ready for download yet. If there are any guffaws like broken links let me know.

A few things about the site update. Yes, it’s been a long time coming. I actually bought this domain back in July so that shows how either frustrated I was with building a new site or lazy. You be the judge.

The site is somewhat dynamic. I know I mentioned before on the site design that I wasn’t going to use ASP or PHP and such but the technology allows web developers to build a site without repeating a lot of things. The main pages are actually all driven from a single template file so maintenance is a breeze now and adding new tools or updating them takes no time (from a site perspective, there’s still that programming thing that has to happen). In any case, it’s slick and fast. I can’t guarantee that I accomodated all browser versions and that jazz so let me know if there’s any burps. My main focus isn’t maintaining a website, it’s writing tools.

The forums are also updated with the same look and feel as the site. Even though the forums are hosted elsewhere, it’s neat to be able to tweak things so much that they look like they’re part of the site. Well, okay maybe I need to get out more.

I’ve left most of Tom’s programs intact and on the site. I’m not sure if he still has his own site or not so they’ll stay here until someone (him) tells me otherwise. I haven’t heard from him for some time now so who knows. A lot of us Sim guys seem to vanish for long periods then resurface from time to time.

The links to tutorials, tech, contact, etc. are not working right now. I wanted to get all the downloads up and running so give those some more time. Back later with info on the updates to the actual content around here and what’s happening in that space. At least this is a somehat useable site now. Thanks for your patience.

Site progress and plan

Hi guys. I’ve spent the last few days before I leave for a short vacation to get the site completed. The layouts are all done (thanks to those that provided some ideas on design and their work) and most of the content is completed. I didn’t specifically use any one design as things morphed into a semi-dynamic site so maintenance would be minimized. I do want to thank Mike (sorry, don’t know your last name but your logo was excellent) and Jud Hudson for their contributions and input. I have about 10 applications left to get the documentation and such online along with a couple of site pages. I’ll have these completed on or before the weekend, but about 70% of the site is done. Thanks for hanging in there.

« Older posts